I miss my father…

Ntate Makgalemele, Bra Phil as he was called by his peers, was well known in our neighbourhood, kokasi, the sharp smart dresser with Florsheim shoes (can’t tholakala, can’t get, like he used to tell us), was larger than life, loved us implicitly, was a present father, kind hearted and a beautiful soul.

He was super handsome, enjoyed his whiskey, but enjoyed the laughter and company of his children more.

He would take a day off to take us to auditions for TV commercials.

He would stand in long queues with us and continue to “pump” you up and encourage you, until it was your turn to go in.

One of my fondest memories was when he took me for a Niknaks audition when I was 15 years old. The role required someone who could dance.

Now my father knew I had two left feet, and looking at my anxious face, he said: “Baby girl (he called my sisters’ and me like that all the time) come let’s go outside. Let me show you some moves.”

He went on to dance in the car park to help me get “jiggy with it.”

I will never forget that! He always made us believe in ourselves, he encouraged us to be the best version of ourselves. Needless to say, I never got the role…

When I was 13 years, he gave me my first book, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, which to a large extent has shaped my thinking, my beliefs and my destiny.

When he passed on January 2003, I thought I will never be able to breathe again, I felt that the wall I have always leaned on was taken away from me.

I was thankful that he walked me down the aisle to marry the love of my life in 2000, the father of my children, I call him #fatherofthetribe. Strange to say, I married a man who is just like my father, a kind, grounded, intelligent, handsome (yes he is) and fully present father who loves his children with all his being. Daily, I watch how he looks at them, how he encourages them, how he makes them believe in themselves.

He’d say to Nkosinathi: “Who’s the greatest, who is the smartest?” and to Shaka: “Who is the champ?” and to Bontle ba Morena: “Daddy’s Princess.”

You want your children to emulate you, you want your daughters to choose good and decent men for husbands, and you want your sons to treat other people’s daughters as you would want them to treat your own “baby girl”.

Be better, do better as fathers. You want to help raise decent productive members of society who are kind to others and you want to bring up children who can contribute to make this world a batter place.

In tribute to the fathers of our nation as we celebrated Father’s Day last week, let your daughters “want to dance with my father”, ala Luther Vandross.